JustAnswer Blog: Automotive

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Bluetooth not working in car systems

Most modern cars are Bluetooth enabled

Most modern cars are Bluetooth enabled

Bluetooth not working in car systems

Tristan Hoag

By Tristan Hoag on June 14, 2018

Bluetooth not working in cars is a common problem, but there are steps you can take to help

Surely, there can be no greater betrayal of the promise of a bright technological future than your Bluetooth not working. In cars this can be particularly frustrating, as you still need to pay attention to the road while trying to juggle all the various tech wonders required by modern life. But when it cuts out in the middle of Eye of the Tiger? Well, some things just can’t be endured!

First world problem this may be, but the Bluetooth in your car can actually be a problem. Bluetooth is already a bit sketchy as connectivity goes, and don’t even get me started on the automotive industry! Any Frankensteinien conglomeration of the two is virtually guaranteed to be a nightmare. The two aren’t even on the same lifecycle; cars are meant to last for many years, while most tech devices are obsolete by the time you can get the box open.

Where this leaves you is parked at a highway rest stop, scratching your head as you search an outdated menu on your dashboard trying to figure out how to connect Bluetooth.

Without any background music.


Resolving issues with Bluetooth connectivity

The most common problem with anything related to Bluetooth is the connection. When you’re figuring out how to connect Bluetooth to car systems, you’re adding in the auto manufacturer’s interface, which can easily be dated and hard to navigate. Even new vehicles can have systems that were designed years earlier ‒ a lifetime in the technology industry.

The end result is frequent compatibility issues between cars and newer Bluetooth devices. This leaves them unable to connect at all. Auto manufacturers can be slow to respond to changes, meaning you may wait for a while before a solution is available. Because of the difference in the speed of innovation between the two industries, you’ll most likely need to reach out to your car manufacturer to ask about solutions.

But if the connection is switching on and off, the cause could be unrelated to Bluetooth updates. In this case, look at the wiring for loose connections that may be causing the issue.

Pairing your Bluetooth devices

There are steps you can take to help connect Bluetooth devices. If you’re wrestling with your Bluetooth not working in-car, try some of these:

  • Check for compatibility: Some systems just haven’t been designed to pair with some kinds of devices. Make sure that your device and system are compatible.
  • Move the device closer: While you’re establishing your Bluetooth connection, move the device close to the dashboard, and make sure there aren’t any obstacles between them. Once the connection is established, you can be more casual with the device.
  • Charge the device: If your battery is low, Bluetooth functions will be stopped to save power. Charging your device can resolve this problem and allow the Bluetooth to work again.
  • Make sure the device is ready to pair: Some devices need to be prepared before they can connect via Bluetooth. Check the instructions to see how to prepare it for connection.
  • Avoid interference: Although Bluetooth switching is getting more sophisticated in handling the various signals that fill our world, an external source may be causing the connectivity issues. Try driving to a new area and see if that helps with the connection.
  • Restart the devices: Sometimes, just starting the devices over can resolve whatever is causing the connectivity issue.

These steps will give you the best chance of getting Bluetooth devices paired in your car.

In complex digital environments, Bluetooth technology has a lot to contend with
In complex digital environments, Bluetooth technology has a lot to contend with

Recognizing other common Bluetooth issues

Even if you can get a decent Bluetooth pair, though, your problems aren’t necessarily over. Just because your devices are paired doesn’t mean that they’ll function like they’re supposed to. Whether you can’t get your contacts to sync or you can’t access the music library in your phone, it can sometimes defeat the purpose of the Bluetooth connection in the first place.

These kinds of problem are usually caused by incompatibility between the system in your car and the Bluetooth device. Again you will typically need to look to the auto manufacturer for the solution, as most modern devices are far more sophisticated and will have access to the newest Bluetooth updates.

Even though Bluetooth is prone to the kinds of problems discussed here, it’s not going away anytime soon. The functionality that it allows is valuable enough to justify the difficulties that are sometimes encountered with Bluetooth devices.

Maybe someday the technology will be perfected to the point where Bluetooth not working in cars is a thing of the past. Until then, the automotive Experts on JustAnswer are available to help you resolve your car electronics questions and get you back on your way.

With the right soundtrack playing!

Have you ever had a Bluetooth device work right? Tell us about it in the comments!